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This Week In Missouri Politics Column: Parson’s response to coronavirus may not be telling you what you want to hear, but it’s a very Missouri response

   
I know this isn’t what many people want to hear.
 
I understand many people are scared, and in a social media age we all want someone to lash out at for this epidemic, and Governor Mike Parson is as good as anyone to blame.
 
I understand that the liberal urban media would love nothing more than to blame anything bad that has ever happened on Parson.
 
I know many people want a heavy-handed mandate from the government, and someone wearing a government seal to tell them that everything will be okay.
 
As is typically the case, I’m not with the crowd. Besides if Parson or anyone in the government said that, well, I’m a hillbilly and wouldn’t believe them anyway.
 
Challenges such as the coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak are where the true tests of a state’s infrastructure and leadership are seen.
 
It has been interesting to watch the criticism of leaders at every level of government. The federal response — which to be honest is the only level of government with the amount of money to do anything that really matters — has been overall pretty average.
 
The president should not have referred to COVID-19 as a hoax, and that is just a fact. Before you get started, my Trump credentials are better than anyone in this state besides maybe David Steelman. The reason it matters is because many Americans and many Missourians believe anything Trump says full stop, and when he says things that aren’t true they can be harmed by bad information.
 
I don’t need a #MAGA lecture, I was pro-Trump when most of you were rigging caucuses for Ted Cruz. However, I do acknowledge that Donald J. Trump can make mistakes, and he made one here.
 
On the local level, leaders are reacting in a way that you would expect. More liberal cities have citizens who put a great deal of faith in government and elect people to serve in local government that share that greater faith in government, and therefore, have gotten more heavy-handed mandates from the local government they have elected.
 
The urban media is radically left wing, they steadfastly believe in big government solutions to every aspect of life, and true to form want a top down mandate here.
 
When you think about it, it really just makes sense.
 
Conversely, on the state level, Missourians as a whole do not share our urban friends trust of the government, and therefore, elect more conservative leaders who are naturally averse to heavy-handed government mandates.
 
In an effort to cut through some of the fear and rhetoric, I decided to check out how Missouri was faring compared to other states of our size.
 
Now before you start playing amateur epidemiologist, I selected the CDC website to use, and this information is valid as of March 23 at 8 p.m and is meant as a tool for comparison — not up-to-the-minute statistics.
 
Don’t be we test less than all other similar states guy. I don’t believe that we test significantly less than all other similar states.
 
Don’t be another website shows more cases guy. It’s the CDC, and the numbers are to be used for comparison.
 
Here is a list of states and their number of reported cases. For reference, Missouri currently ranks No. 18 in population.
 
Here are a few states that are larger than Missouri:
 
12th Virginia – cases reported: 254
 
13th Washington – cases reported: 1996
 
14th Arizona – cases reported: 152
 
15th Massachusetts – cases reported: 646
 
16th Tennessee – cases reported: 505
 
17th Indiana – cases reported: 201
 
Here are a few states that are smaller than Missouri:
 
19th Maryland – cases reported: 288
 
20th Wisconsin – cases reported: 381
 
21st Colorado – cases reported: 591
 
22nd Minnesota – cases reported: 236
 
23rd South Carolina – cases reported: 195
 
24th Alabama – cases reported: 157
 
Again Missouri is No. 18 in population and has 106 cases reported.
 
Yes, the coronavirus is serious, deadly serious.
 
Yes, every decision that Governor Parson has made can be criticized.
 
No, it does not make you a terrible person to believe that Nicole Galloway could have made better decisions.
 
Yes, you should wash your hands and limit your contact with other people.
 
Yes, it’s very early, and no one knows where Missouri will rank at the end of this — whenever that end arrives.
 
However, thus far, Governor Parson’s decision of letting local authorities make local decisions is a very conservative, midwestern, and responsible approach to this calamity.
 
If you want someone to give you a Facebook video where he blows something up and tells you that he is from the government and here to help, and the government is going to make everything okay, that’s not who Governor Parson is. Also, that isn’t even remotely true.
 
In many ways, Governor Parson has taken a very Missouri approach to this global problem.
 
I understand people are scared and want someone to lash out at, but as the numbers show, here in Missouri with our local response, we are holding our own.